It’s always fun when I’m watching a cooking show and I think, “I can do that.” Of course, how often do I really “do that?” Well, I did this time — “that” is this carrot cake.

This carrot cake was inspired by a recipe developed by Matt Sinclair on Master Chef Australia 2016. We have an anti-sweet-tooth in the family who’s not usually one to request desserts, but once he saw this beauty on the telli, it was an immediate birthday request. So, I did my research, figured out how to tweak a few ingredients, and made this “less-guilt” version of the decadent original.

A Note About the Recipe:  A few key ingredients to make this less-guilt carrot cake are non-fat cream cheese, Stevia in the raw (or a similar sugar substitute made for baking), sugar-free maple syrup, non-fat greek yogurt, and unsweetened cashew milk (or non-fat dairy milk). All substitutions can be replaced with equal amount of traditional ingredients (such as pure maple syrup, full fat cream cheese and yogurt), which will result in a denser cake.

What truly makes this carrot cake unique (besides the healthy tweaks) is the use of a carrot marmalade in the center. This portion of the recipe, so unique and unfamiliar to me, is taken directly from Matt Sinclair’s recipe. I’ve also used his rustic plating as inspiration, but have substituted candied walnuts and the walnut crumb for simply crumbled raw walnuts.

Ok…now for the recipe…

Healthy -ish Carrot Cake

Category: Baking, Sweet

Servings: 4 - 8 servings

A healthy take on a classic cake! Carrot cake a'la Stacy


    For the Cake
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon Brummel and Brown Butter Substitute (or equal parts regular butter), melted
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup sugar-free maple syrup
  • ¼ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup Unsweetened Cashew Milk or nonfat dairy milk
  • 2 cups grated carrots (about 3 medium carrots)
    For the Filling
  • 2 oranges, zested and juiced
  • 1 cup carrots (about 2 carrots), finely grated
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp bourbon
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
    For the Frosting
  • 12 ounces fat free cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Stevia in the Raw
  • 3 tablespoons fat free plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    For the topping
  • 1 ounce walnuts, crumbled


    For the Cake
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F, and coat a 9”-square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and salt.
  • In a separate, larger bowl, whisk together the Brummel and Brown, egg, and vanilla.
  • Stir in the maple syrup and Greek yogurt into the butter mixture, whisking until no large clumps remain.
  • Alternate between adding the flour mixture (about a 1/2 cup at a time) and milk (about 1/8 cup at a time), stirring just until batter is smooth.
  • With a rubber spatula, fold in the carrots.
  • Spread the batter into the prepared pan, and bake at 350°F for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Cool in the pan for at least 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.
  • Cool completely (at least to room temperature) before assembly.
    For the Filling
  • Place a medium saucepan over medium heat on the stovetop.
  • Mix the orange juice, orange zest, shredded carrots and sugar in the saucepan, cooking until shredded carrots have softened (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the bourbon, star anise, cinnamon quill, and lemon juice. Continue to cook until the mixture has thickened to a marmalade consistency (about 10 to 15 minutes).
  • Set aside to cool.
    For the Frosting
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the cream cheese, Stevia, Greek yogurt, and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined and smooth.
    For the Assembly
  • Once the cake is cooled trim the length of each side (removing the rounded corners and edges to create a true square shape).
  • Cut the cake exactly in half.
  • Cover one side thoroughly with the cream cheese frosting. Evenly distribute the carrot marmalade on top of the cream cheese frosting of that same cake half.
  • Add the second cake half, placing it on top of the carrot marmalade.
  • Generously coat the top of the cake with cream cheese frosting.
  • Liberally sprinkle crushed walnuts on top of the cake.
  • Eat.

Cake Inspiration
The Inspiration – Photograph courtesy of Master Chef AU website.

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